Groundhog Questions and Answers








What do groundhogs do to get ready for winter?

We usually eat a bit more in the fall since during the winter we will hibernate underground- that means we go into a deep sleep. Sometimes we even dig another burrow for our hibernation.  Burrows are usually dug below the frost line (or the depth at which the water in the ground will freeze) so that they will stay warmer.  We might go as deep as 5 feet underground when making a burrow.  And of course we add a little extra insulation, like grass or hay to keep warm too.

What happens when you hibernate?

Hibernation is kind of like sleeping without getting up until spring. Our body temperature drops and our heart rate, breathing, and metabolism (other chemical reactions in our body) all slow down.

How big is a typical burrow?

In a typical burrow, we might have as many as 5 to 7 openings to the ground surface.  Some of my friends have up to 46 feet of tunnels in their burrows.  One burrow might require the removal of 35 cubic feet of dirt or 710 pounds of dirt.

What do groundhogs do when out and about all day?

We like to eat. We are herbivores so we only eat plants. Next, we have to watch out for the foxes, coyotes, and hawks that might try to eat us. If we need to we will climb trees to take a look at the surroundings.  And believe it or not, we are excellent swimmers.

Do you really look for your shadow on Groundhog Day?

We leave the shadow spotting to the Ground Hogs at the zoos especially to Phil in Punxsutawney, PA.  That hole shadow business is too much of a mob scene for us that live in wild. Plus we are still hibernating at that time and really don’t want to leave our warm burrows!